Staff Recs: Favorite Street Performances

New York City parks are alive with performers of all kind, from musicians and acrobats in Washington Square Park, to the creepy characters of Times Square.

All the streets of New York are a stage for performers. On everyday commutes, whether it be the short walk from Weinstein to Bobst or the seven-stop underground train coming in from Brooklyn, it is nearly impossible not to pass by a street performer. WSN staff compiled a small collection of their favorite regulars to New York’s sidewalk scene.

“Love Yourself!” Guy

I love the guy who’s always dancing around in Washington Square Park with a cardboard sign and yelling “love yourself!” at passersby. I don’t know what it is that makes his performance so entrancing — maybe it’s a mix of his optimism and the fact that he kind of looks like a Gallatin professor. Regardless of the reason, the dude always manages to brighten up my day. — Emily Fong, Opinions Editor

Washington Square Park’s House Saxophonist


Personally, my day is always improved by the saxophonist who frequents the plaza in front of Garibaldi’s statue on the east side of Washington Square Park. His melodies are, if not virtuosic, at least consistently pleasant to listen to. The cooler months of the year always lack a certain reedy-ness when he retires for the winter, and the first time I heard him playing this past spring, I definitely sent out a mass Snapchat to rejoice in the good news with my friends. — Hailey Nuthals, Arts Editor

Shia LaBeouf

I’ll never forget the day. It was a weekday. I had been in class, secretly scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed as the teacher droned on about the phonograph when I saw it. Shia LaBeouf was less than two blocks away from me at the Angelika Film Center. Fast forward through a very boring montage of me darting from class to the theater, then waiting in line for over six hours, to the moment when I finally made it into the theater. It’s 3 a.m. I’m exhausted, I’m starving and I don’t even see Shia LaBeouf in the room. “Transformers 2” is playing and everyone seems to be eyeing the back of the room instead of paying attention to the hunks of metal brawling on the screens. I finally decided to turn around to see what everyone was staring at, and there he was, Shia LaBeouf, taking a nap on the floor in the middle of his own movie marathon. — Dejarelle Gaines, Highlighter Editor

The Times Square Characters
You know those creepy Mickey Mouses and Spidermans and Hello Kitty’s that lurk in Times Square, waiting for some unsuspecting tourist to get reminiscent of their last family trip to Disneyland and run up and snap a pic before realizing that this is not a free interaction? They expect you to cough up for that picture and though signs affixed all around them insist that it is not required, the beady eyes of those knock off suits will tell you otherwise. Capitalism at its finest, folks. — Rachel Ruecker, Sports Editor

Piano Man

We can’t not talk about the piano guy when we talk about street performers in Washington Square Park. How does piano guy get his grand piano to the park? Where does he live? Does he keep it in his lobby and just roll it out every morning? By himself or is piano-pushing a group effort? These are good questions to ponder while indulging in classical music on a sunny afternoon. And then once in awhile, there would be a giggly little girl wearing a sparkly tutu that starts twirling and leaping to the Maestro’s music. The ideality of this scene convinces me that sitting on a park bench is more worthwhile than going to class or doing homework. — Qianqian Li, Copy Chief

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